Collins Dream Kitchen | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Jackson’s Iconic Restaurants


Collins Dream Kitchen

Sylvester Collins had a dream. After countless years cooking in several Jackson-area restaurant kitchens—at times working as many shifts as two or three people—the mother of four saved enough to finance her own establishment, a small takeout joint in 1987. Over the years, she moved to a bigger space, one with a buffet counter, dining room, and enough wall space to fill with Christian devotionals and the portraits of the men and women who guided her here.

The dream carries over to the food, especially the spread of side dishes, whose recipes Ms. Collins tweaked for health reasons several years ago. The greens, peas, squash, and cabbage contain no pork. Instead, they are seasoned with a spice mixture that makes them both healthy and flavorful. But you can still get your carnivorous fix here. There are smothered turkey necks, ham hocks, and meaty spaghetti; fried chicken, baked chicken, and cracklin’ cornbread. Now older, Ms. Collins doesn’t do much of the cooking, but she still seasons each and every plate that comes out of her Dream Kitchen.

Date of interview:

Rien Fertel

Rien Fertel

Download Transcript

Other Project Interviews



The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.